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318 pages, Hardcover
First published September 14, 2021
The dialogue and action were so shrouded in euphemism, so opaque in meaning and intention, alternatively dull and worrisome, that no one could decide what the play was about, if they understood it, let alone enjoyed it.I can't help but think Colson Whitehead was talking about this very book when he wrote that prescient line into it.
"The red carpet outside the Waldorf of Harlem was the theater for daily and sometimes hourly spectacles, whether it was the sight of the heavyweight champ waving to fans as he climbed into a Cadillac, or a wrung-out jazz singer splashing out of a Checker cab at three a.m. with the devil's verses in her mouth. The Theresa desegregated in 1940, after the neighborhood tipped over from Jews and Italians and became the domain of Southern blacks and West Indians. Everyone who came uptown had crossed some variety of violent ocean."
"Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked. . . "
"Carney took the previous tenants' busted schemes and failed dreams as a kind of fertilizer that helped his own ambitions prosper, the same way a fallen oak in its decomposition nourishes the acorn."
"The cousins had diverged. Their mothers were sisters, so they shared some of the same material but had bent their different ways over the years. Like the row of buildings across the street--other people and the years tugging them away from the original plans. The city took everything into its clutches and sent it every which way. Maybe you had a say in which direction, and maybe you didn't."